Friday, February 14, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: NFP and hooded towels

When the baby was first born, one of the things that made the whole PPD mess even harder was that I was sure I would never ever feel ready to have another baby and that meant I wasn't open to life and I'm a terrible person and everything is terrible.

For a long time, I prayed that God would start by making me open to this life, make me into the mother Tad needed me to be. I figured that I could worry about being open to other children later.

I'm not sure when things changed, but the other day, Scott was playing with the baby and said, "We should get him a little sister sometime." And I found myself agreeing with him.

Fortunately for my poor uterus, we really really can't afford another baby right now. (Otherwise I'd be sorely tempted to revise my opinions on ideal child spacing, because postpartum NFP is hard and I don't like it.)

I still have plenty of things to pray over, though. Just because I want another baby doesn't mean I want to be pregnant again. It hasn't been long enough for me to forget how crippling my anxiety was during the first several months of my pregnancy with Tad. I have a physical anxiety reaction just thinking about being pregnant; I'd probably have outright panic attacks if we were seriously considering trying again.

I'm not sure what the answer to that is, except to keep taking my anxiety in general and turning it over to God. Maybe in another year or two I'll actually be good at that.

I'm also anxious about repeating my initial breastfeeding experience. (Short version: I didn't know how to help the baby latch and instead of actually helping the hospital people gave us nipple shields and then said, "Oh, he's not getting enough milk, here are some formula samples and a pump and you have to follow this strict feeding schedule or he'll starve." He dropped down the percentiles until we got rid of all that stuff and has been growing steadily since.) (Disclaimer: I'm sure there are situations in which all of those things can help, but ours was not it.)

I'm less traumatized by it than I was a month ago, and I have been trying hard to reframe it as a victory. I had an awful awful start, but I got second opinions and third opinions and went to a million appointments (okay, more like five, but five in a month is a lot) and now he's happy and thriving and I did a good job making sure he got what he needed. (Do I need to add a disclaimer here about how I would be a good mom if I chose to formula feed? You do what you need to do; I'm too busy feeding my baby to judge you.)

But it hasn't worked yet, telling myself that. I still feel like I failed him for not educating myself better, for not advocating for us better (I had just hemorrhaged, I was not exactly at the top of my game...), for not giving him the very best from the first moment of his life. Even telling myself that I'll know better next time doesn't help, because Tad isn't a guinea pig, he's my baby, and his babyhood matters just as much as his hypothetical younger siblings'.

Now I'm crying, so let's change topics abruptly.

Remind me never to say things on here like, "Cloth diapers contain poop-splosions much better." They do overall, but I think I must have tempted the poop fates a little too much because on Tuesday Tad had his worst blowout yet. I decided that the best solution to having poop all over myself and the baby was to strip us both down and hop in the bathtub. So we did. Tad sat on my lap and kicked his legs curiously for a few minutes, and then I drained and refilled the tub and stuck him in his baby tub for some photo ops.

We did make it to the LLL couples' meeting last week. It was fun even though we didn't know anybody (the person who invited me didn't show) and there was lots of candy. Did you know Dove dark chocolates come in a mint variety? I need to figure out where to buy myself some of those. Om nom nom.

Then on Thursday, Tad and I went to a regular meeting. I actually knew/recognized three of the women there--two had been at the couples' meeting and the third was my chiropractor. (That might be awkward at some point.) Chiro's two-year-old daughter is adorable. She kept offering her organic dye-free fruit loops to Tad and we had to explain to her that he's too little for anything but milk. ("But thank you for SHARING," her mother emphasized.) That meeting was fun too, though there was no chocolate.

Scott actually went to the office three times this week, which I think is more than he's done since before Tad was born. He telecommuted on Wednesday because his allergies were acting up, and again today because we had a winter storm warning. (By midafternoon the storm had started in earnest and Scott's company sent out an email saying everybody should go home. So it's a good thing he was already home.)

Anyway, I feel very accomplished because I did not get overwhelmed and call my mother in tears even once. My kitchen is very messy, but maybe we'll catch up on that over the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago I managed to figure out cradle hold in the ring sling and therefore how to nurse Tad on the left while wearing him. I am pretty much unstoppable now. On Sunday evening I used my newfound skill to make mint chocolate chip cookies. (They would have been just regular chocolate chip, but I remembered I had peppermint extract lying around.) Scott did most of the getting pans in and out of the oven, granted, but I still felt accomplished.

Now the baby is fussy, so I should get us both to sleep.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

I wonder when people hear "postpartum NFP" they think of the charting or the abstinence.

(Considering it was difficult for us to get one baby in the first place, I'm not overly worried about going out of our way to avoid having one. But we probably should be in a position where it isn't messing with anyone's psychology and doctor bills don't come out of our emergency savings that isn't increasing. Even getting rid of some of the student loans would help with that.)

It seemed pretty obvious to me in the hospital that there was a point at which he couldn't eat because he was too frustrated with hunger, and that the bottles helped him over that, but that beyond that he needed to learn to actually latch and all. I thought I tried to point this out at the time. I guess, given that turned out to be an accurate assessment that could have saved us a lot of trouble, I will have to get actually pushy about it next time.

The Sojourner said...

I remember that you tried to argue with their feeding schedule. (I.e. that 10 minutes every hour should count for the same as 30 minutes every 3 hours--which is pretty much true, according to my subsequent research.) I don't remember if you argued about anything else.

I think we'll both be a lot pushier next time.

Nora Roisin said...

It is good to hear this for someone who wants to have children, in some unforeseeable future. My mum told stories of being very pushy at the hospital, and needing someone who wasn't giving birth to be pushy for her, too, and not tired afterwards.

Glad you've posted! I'm praying for you, when I remember. I'll pray that you two can sort out your financials. ^.^

The Sojourner said...

Thanks. :)

Sheila said...

Next time you have trouble reframing your breastfeeding journey as a success, squish your baby. Squish his little thighs and cheeks and belly. That should jog your memory. Kid's not starving, you win!

Seems like my lactation consultants must have moved up your way to give you the same awful advice. Nipple shield > declining milk supply > well, you shouldn't feel bad that you don't have enough milk.

I wanted to scream at them (long after I was never going to see them again), "I would have had a FINE milk supply if you people would have left me alone!" I am not going to be a conspiracy theorist here, but if they HAD been in the pay of a formula company, they could hardly have given worse advice.

But when we kicked the nipple shield to the curb (at 11 weeks) and I was nursing him All By Myself, things were so much better and it definitely did feel like a victory.

On the NFP note, you should never feel bad for not wanting another baby right now. You're not supposed to want another baby right now. Your body and mind and hormones and all agree, it's not time for that. Most of us leave the delivery room swearing "never again!" but most of us do change our minds eventually.

The Sojourner said...

He is a very squishable baby. It pleases me.

And thanks for the comment. :) It helps to know I'm not the only one who got such awful advice and still managed.